Leeds United: If ever there was an advert for fan ownership, this is it

Kyle Hulme reports on the potential of Leeds United’s fan ownership…

As I began to write about an ambitious new initiative designed to give fans a stake in Leeds United, news of the suspension of Steve Thompson, Neil Redfearn’s assistant, began to fill my Twitter feed. It upset me; not because I had to delete the words I had already written, but because it served as a reminder that even when you think you’ve turned a corner, sometimes the madness can follow you too.

Thompson was widely acknowledged to have been a key factor of Leeds’ recent upturn in form which saw fans stop shouting about relegation and start whispering of the playoffs. His influence on the club can’t be overstated – from broader impacts such as simply easing the pressure on Redfearn to more specialised focuses like all-but resurrecting the career of Luke Murphy. Yet all of that seemingly matters for nothing as today he’s been suspended until the end of the season and the option to retain him won’t be exercised. It’s a move that has seen Neil Redfearn question his future at the club, and one of several moves that only serve to unite the fanbase against their current owners – which may be the only silver lining to come out of this decision.

In terms of mobilising supporters against the current regime, the timing couldn’t be better. Continue reading

Leeds United: The more things change, the more they stay the same

Kyle Oliver Hulme gives us the low-down on what’s going on with sack happy Leeds United at Elland Road…

Since I last wrote, Leeds have sacked a manager, lost a few games and had more details about past, present and potentially future owners emerge.

You’ll have to forgive me if it sounds like I’m repeating myself – it’s just that Leeds United seem to exist in a Groundhog Day-like world where events seem bound to repeat themselves unless the protagonist changes the way they go about their business. But try telling that to Massimo Cellino.

Darko Milanic was sacked after just 32 days in charge of Leeds. He left behind his family, his successful team and bought a one way ticket to Leeds – literally. And as one might expect, being the third manager of the season already in the month of September, he found it difficult to motivate the squad and get them to play his way. Continue reading

Crisis? What crisis? Life in Leeds under Massimo Cellino

TFN Columnist and Leeds United fan Kyle Hulme takes stock of the season so far…

Whilst chaos clings to everything around Leeds United – in Massimo Cellino they posses a chairman with “elusive intent”, accusations of breaking United Nations Security Council resolutions and player complaints to the PFA – the squad has quietly being making progress on the pitch, with Neil Redfearn and Darko Milanič rubbishing Dave Hockaday’s claim that he could get “more out of these players than anyone else could”.

For the first time in a while, we actually look pretty good. Really good, even. Form has stuttered in the last few weeks since Milanič took the job yet this is no real cause for concern – it’s the first time he’s managed in England, and this is the first season in English football for seven of the starting XI. Not only are they adapting to the tempo and demands of the Championship but to the playing style of one another as well. Continue reading

Ross McCormack – the new Billy Bremner?


“His Hair is Red and Fuzzy, and His Body’s Black and Blue”

TFN’s Kyle Hulme tells how Ross McCormack manifested the spirit of fellow countryman and former Leeds United legend Billy Bremner to save the club in a season of turmoil…

He watched the ball the whole way. Knowing Matt Smith would win it, he ran in between the two defenders. The flick on was unpredictable, landing awkwardly to his right whilst he had his back to goal. Undeterred, he flicked the ball over his and his marker’s shoulder, pirouetting in the same motion, before striking the ball with his weaker foot – the same weaker foot which launched a season filled with hope against Brighton back in August – past the Barnsley goalkeeper and into the goal.

The travelling Leeds fans erupted, their talisman looking to have all-but condemned their Yorkshire rivals to relegation. It was his 29th goal of the season, an outrageous feat given that Leeds that day confirmed their safety in the division, and a personal record he’ll never forget in a season which Leeds fans can’t wait to see the back of. Continue reading

Leeds United – Why always us?


Leeds fan Kyle Hulme gives his take on the sorry state of affairs at Elland Road…

In an act that is the culmination of a dark week in the history of Leeds United, Brian McDermott has been sacked as manager of the club, leaving fans angry, bemused and already planning a boycott of future games.

Despite Leeds’ form over the last couple of months, fans have been quick to jump to the defence of the man whom many thought would be the one to bring stability and success back to the club. Yet his dismissal follows a farcical week at the club, in which prospective new owner Massimo Cellino – the current owner of Cagliari – took former Middlesbrough players and current Lumezzane manager Gianluca Festa around Thorpe Arch, the clubs training ground, and even asked if he could sit on the bench during Leeds’ midweek game against Ipswich Town.

Cellino is expected at any moment to secure a 75% stakehold in the club, at a figure rumoured to be around £22m. This is regardless of staunch opposition to the takeover from the vast majority of fans and the Leeds United Supporters Trust. The Italian has convictions of fraud and embezzlement centered around his construction of the Is Arena, which was proposed to be a new stadium for Cagliari, but irregularities surrounding the building of the ground has seen his club play games hundreds of miles away from the city of Cagliari, on mainland Italy. Continue reading

‘Solid as a Roque’ – Leeds United’s Roque Junior

Leeds defender Roque Junior wears a torn shirt

Eamonn Dalton, of Howson Is Now & The Square Ball, runs the rule over World Cup winner Roque Junior and his brief time at Elland Road…

Cast your mind back. 30 June 2002. Brazil vs Germany in the World Cup FInal. Two second half goals from Ronaldo give Brazil a deserved victory and a record fifth World Cup Championship.

Cast your mind back. 15 September 2003. Leicester City vs Leeds United in the Premier League. Goals from Jamie Scowcroft, Lilian Nalis and two from Paul Dickov more or less confirmed Leeds’ relegation – it was only September, but we all knew.

One man and one man alone starred in both of these games. He transcended football. He transcended reality. He is Roque Junior. I am baffled. Continue reading

LUFC: “We’ve always been Leeds, but for once we’re United”

Luke Murphy Leeds

Leeds fan Kyle Hulme is excited by his club’s new lease of life as it emerges from the shadows of Ken Bates’ reign…

It can be difficult to write about your own club. Constantly fearing your own bias you can quickly fall the other way completely, find yourself typing out controversies in a rather scathing tone. Before you know it you’re calling Neil Warnock words that could get you arrested, or worse, blocked by Caitlin Moran.

I say usually, because today that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Leeds fans find themselves in quite an unusual position – optimism surrounding our club is at a ten year high, yet the expectations for this season are, dare I say it, rather realistic.

This seemingly substantiated optimism is born of all the work that’s been done by the club of late off the pitch. When GFH Capital purchased the club from Leeds fans it saw us embark on a typically rollercoaster-like ride; first we were rich, then we were poor, then Bates looked set to remain as President and supporters no longer knew where they stood.

But since the end of last season, the situation has begun to change. Continue reading